On Thursday 25th May 2013, JUMP “Empowering Women, Advancing the Economy” hosted its 7th annual Forum in Brussels. Founded in 2006 by Isabella Lenarduzzi, a social entrepreneur and expert on gender diversity, JUMP offers women practical tools to help them achieve their professional and personal aspirations.
The 2013 Forum debated on the critical role that men can play in creating inclusive workplaces. As stressed by Michael Kimmel (sociologist specialised in gender studies and masculinities) during his presentation on “women and men as allies for greater equality and performance”, men should support women in their initiatives towards their empowerment. He explained that acting together would advance the development not only of the woman but also of the family and society in general.
“It is important that more men support an initiative like JUMP because it is about them as well. It turns out that the more gender equal a marriage the happier the men are, the better their children do in school, the happier their children are and the more sex they have. This is a win-win! When women win, men win also.”
Other speakers like Madame Jeanne Davos and Béa Ercolini focused on the daily battles that women are still facing. Sharing her experience as the founder of the Student movement for development and of the National domestic workers movement in India, Madame Devos pointed out that some fights such as sexual rape are still widespread challenges in the world, including in developed countries. Surprisingly, as she explained, “raping acts are present with comparable proportions in Belgium as in India”. However, she has sent a message of hope by showing how much women are heroes in the combats they carry out daily. On her side, Béa Ercolini (editor in chief of ELLE magazine –Belgium),highlighted risky behaviors related to sexism both in professional and private environments. She recalled the objective of the campaign ” Touche pas à ma pote” (do not touch my mate) that she has launched and by which she stresses that sexism must be addressed with the same rigor as racism. “Against sexism, against racism, it is the same combat.”
During the Forum, workshops and coaching were organized on various themes such as “how to be a successful dual career couple”, “best professional practices”, “successful communication” etc.
Such forums are very interesting for the women empowerment debate as they are not only an opportunity for networking but also a great place for experience and opinion sharing. The same event will be organized in Paris on the 23rd May 2013.